Vale drives recovery through processing resumption

Vale's S11D mine at Carajás.

Iron ore miner Vale has received permission from the National Mining Agency (ANM) to partially resume dry processing operations at the Vargem Grande Complex in Brazil.

All operations were suspended by ANM on February 20 this year to prevent occasional triggers that could affect dam stability as a result of ongoing activities at the complex.

The decision allows Vale to recommence dry processing at the site, allowing for an additional five million tonnes of production in 2019. This is set to increase the supply of Brazilian blend fines.

The company reaffirmed its 2019 iron ore and pellets sales guidance of between 307 to 322 million tonnes and estimates that current sales volumes will be around the midpoint of the range.

Vale’s resumption of activities at the Vargem Grande Complex follows a slow recovery by the company after the Brumadinho dam rupture.

This is represented by an increase in iron ore fines production and sales towards the end of the June quarter due to higher shipments from its Northern system and the resumption of Brucutu operations.

Despite this, iron ore fines production totalled 64.1 million tonnes in the June quarter, 12.1 per cent and 33.8 per cent lower than the first quarter this year and the corresponding period last year, respectively.

Vale’s pellet production totalled 9.1 million tonnes, 25.5 per cent lower than the previous period.

The product decline was attributed to the full stoppage of the Southern System pellet plants during the quarter, following the Brumadinho dam rupture, abnormal rain in the Northern and south-eastern Systems as well as maintenance carried out and at the Tubarão plants.

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